Community Development News

From the desk of the executive director: Where have all the bankers gone?

The Center for Rural Affairs first examined consolidation in the banking industry in a 1978 report, “Where Have All the Bankers Gone?”. We have long understood the critical link between credit, who has access, who doesn’t, and how it shapes communities.

That’s why a recent report in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. It detailed how banking in rural communities has fared in the years since the financial crisis. 

Proposed tax legislation places burden on rural residents, relief to wealthy

The governor’s tax plan, LB 947, should be recognized for its attempt to address Nebraska's property tax challenge. However, this plan does little to bring balance and sound tax policy change to the state’s tax system.

By giving permanence and prioritization to income tax cuts for our state’s highest earners and corporations, rural Nebraska’s property tax plight remains secondary, and leaves residents reeling from continued cuts to health care, education, and public services.

To close the digital divide, it must first be identified

Despite the potential for broadband to modernize the economy in rural America, access and availability continue to lag. The President’s recent executive order affirmed this limitation and the need to commit resources to close rural America's digital divide.

Yet, the ability to pinpoint where service is and is not available is fundamental to closing the digital divide in rural areas.

Rural Nebraska's access to broadband internet up for discussion in the Unicameral

Access to high speed internet is essential to ensuring equitable quality of life in the modern economy. Two legislative bills introduced this week by Sen. Lynne Walz, of Fremont, seek to close the digital divide in Nebraska.

Currently, the ability for public entities to work with private companies on the installation of fiber optic cable required for broadband internet access is mired by regulation. LB 1113 introduced by Sen. Walz and co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Briese, of Albion, would eliminate these restrictions.

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